January 30, 2011 – A group of medical marijuana patients, producers, and advocates is planning to meet with Members of Parliament, media and other government officials on January 31 in an effort to draw attention to “the serious and unnecessary obstacles that the Harper Government has placed” in the path of medical marijuana users in Canada.
The Canadian Medicinal Cannabis Conference will take place on and around Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Since 2001, Health Canada has had a program in place where Canadians could – ostensibly – apply for permits to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. As this program was forced upon the government after numerous court rulings, they have been less-than compassionate in their dealings with chronically and critically ill Canadians. The program is, by all informed accounts, a complete and utter fiasco.
“People are still waiting 12-15 weeks, many longer, for their paperwork to be processed,” said event organizer, Laurie MacEachern, who had her first application held up in the system for three years. “It is completely unacceptable. This is medicine people need immediately, not 2-3 months from now. People risk arrest, increased health problems, and in some cases, death.”
A press conference is scheduled in the Charles Lynch Room for 10:00 am where co-organizers will introduce the event. Long-time medical marijuana license holder and activist Allison Myrden is expected to attend the press conference and the days’ events, as is Medical Marijuana producer Adam Greenblatt, and Medical Marijuana License Holder and writer Russell Barth.
Myrden is best known for her work with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Greenblatt is a Designated Grower and Activist in the Montreal area, and Barth is best known for his letter-writing and Human Rights complaint against the Ontario Government for failing to regulate the medical use of cannabis.
“I walked around with no permit for seven weeks back in May/June.” said Barth. “I was at risk of arrest, and since I have a sick wife with epilepsy that I am also taking care of 24/7, both our lives were threatened by this delay. My dose increase took 57 days to process this past autumn, and my wife has already waited over a month so far for her dose increase to be processed.”
Delegates will be found throughout the Parliament complex over the course of the day as they attend appointments and interviews, and can be made available to meet with interested members of the media. A public event is scheduled at the Monterey Inn Resort & Conference Centre, 2259 Prince of Wales Drive from 7-9:00 pm where Exempted patients, Advocates, and other supporters will be available to meet with anyone who would like to learn more about medicinal cannabis.
The event is being attended by the “who’s who” of medical marijuana, including:
Hayley Rose – Youngest patient granted Authorization to Possess, the “Hayley’s Comet” cannabis strain was developed for her to provide strain specific symptom relief
Russell Barth – Co-Author of the world’s first children’s book about medical marijuana (Mommy’s Funny Medicine), co-producer of the most-watched epilepsy video on Youtube (Over 1.7 million hits in four years).
Christine Lowe – Star of the most-watched epilepsy video on Youtube, co-author and illustrator of Mommy’s Funny Medicine, and former founding member of the National Capital Compassion Society
Debbie Stultz-Giffin – Chair, MUMM (Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana)
Tamara Cartwright – President of Southern Alberta Cannabis Club, Organizer of the last 3 Global Marijuana Marches in Lethbridge, Activist.
Todd Kaighin – Convention Co-Organizer, 20 year HIV Survivor, MMAR Exempted, Red Ribbon Campaign Co-Manager
Derek Pedro – Owner of Medical Marijuana Alliance and Resources, Grower, Advocate
Amy Brown – C.A.L.M. Admissions, Compassionate Care Worker, Baker, Advocate
Derek Francisco – Defence Team Leader at Canadian Cannabis Legal Defence Resource and Director of Canadian Cannabis Consulting, Patient Advocate, Grower
Sam Mellace – New Age Medical Solutions, Patient Advocate & Activist, first Canadian to smoke marijuana in the House of Commons, gained International coverage of Health Canada’s license delays and his demand for access to safer alternative forms of marijuana consumption. Source.